FACT CHECK: Image Makes Misleading Claims About Ukraine Aid, Inflation Reduction Act
An image shared on Facebook claims that Ukraine received $80 billion in aid and that the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) costs $741 billion while giving $300 billion to individuals with college degrees.
The total Ukrainian aid pledged since the Russian invasion started is around $50 billion. The Inflation Reduction Act’s total cost is $738 billion, though that includes increased tax revenue and savings and does not give any money to college graduates.
The Biden administration recently announced a $625 million aid package to Ukraine which included artillery systems, ammunition and armored vehicles, according to PBS. President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law Aug. 16 tackling issues related to health care, taxation and climate change, CNN reported.
The Facebook image, shared more than 400 times, claims Biden “just gave” Ukraine $80 billion and that the Inflation Reduction Act gives $300 billion to “dead beats with usless degrees like gender studies and glass blowing.” The image further claims that the Inflation Reduction Act costs $741 billion and that there are 144.3 million taxpayers.
However, these numbers are inaccurate. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy estimates that the U.S. has committed approximately $50 billion in aid to Ukraine since the invasion started in February. Congress recently passed a bill that sent Ukraine a $12.3 billion aid package, bringing the total amount of commitments from the U.S. to $65 Billion, according to The New York Times.
The U.S. has provided $16.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since February 2022, according to the Defense Department. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Russian Equipment Left In Izyum?)
Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, told Check Your Fact Sept. 29 that the U.S. has authorized “$49 billion in US military aid since Russia’s invasion on Feb 24, assuming Biden signs the short-term spending bill passed by the House today (and Senate yesterday). ”
Andrew Strike, a State Department spokesperson, told Check Your Fact in a Sept. 28 email that the total amount of aid the U.S. provided was “‘nearly 25 billion’ (not counting $344m in humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian refugees outside Ukraine).”
The post’s claims about the Inflation Reduction Act are also incorrect. The Inflation Reduction Act does not have anything to do with education or stimulus and addresses health care costs, manufacturing jobs and the tax code, according to a White House fact sheet.
Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, told Check Your Fact in a Sept. 28 email that the think tank found “the Inflation Reduction Act spending inclusive of tax credits amounted to about $502 billion, lower than the $741 billion cited in that post.”
“CBO found that the tax hikes and other revenue savings totaled about $738 billion for about $238 billion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years,” Watson explained, adding the claim “the IRA gives ‘$300B to dead beats with useless degrees’ is inaccurate” while suggesting the poster may be confused with the recent student loan forgiveness announcement. The cost of the cancellation would cost $300 to $400 billion.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) said the claims about the Inflation Reduction Act were false and referred Check Your Fact to its public summary of the legislation. (RELATED: Did Drug Companies Spend $100 Million Lobbying Against The Inflation Reduction Act?)
The number of taxpayers is outdated. There were 148.3 million taxpayers in 2019, which is the latest year available for federal income tax data, according to The Tax Foundation. There were 144.3 million taxpayers in 2018.